Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

At 50, Beach Boys Sound Youthfully Sublime

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

At 50, Beach Boys Sound Youthfully Sublime

Article excerpt

Back in the mid '70s, The Beach Boys would roll into the stadium and play for a festive crowd of tens of thousands who paid a mere $8 to see "America's band."

For those who paid top dollar at the Benedum Friday night, it came to about that -- per song. And there were 45 of them!

Rather than making the 50th anniversary a celebration for all, the Beach Boys (or their management) chose to shut out a lot of fans with an exclusive theater show in the Cultural District, where tickets started at $80 and soared to a whopping $350.

That is some serious inflation. Then again, who could put a value on pop's most priceless harmonies? And who could put a price on the legendary Brian Wilson singing "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times," his delicate voice still magical at a hard-won 69 years old?

This was his first appearance here with the Beach Boys in 25 years, and his first as the only surviving Wilson brother (Carl died in 1998). He joined cousin Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, who have kept the Beach Boys afloat the past few decades, and founding members Al Jardine and Erie native/hot guitarist David Marks in a marathon, 21/2-hour show that covered the whole spectrum of the band's career.

It began, appropriately, with "Do It Again," and then "Catch a Wave," providing the first test for those well-seasoned voices. If they didn't sound like they did on the old records, well, they sure were close, and probably a lot closer than at the Three Rivers Stadium gig. Members of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Love's stellar band, including amazing falsetto singer Jeff Foskett ("Don't Worry Baby"!), helped them up with a backline of sublimely youthful harmonies. In all, 15 people filled the stage to build the gorgeous wall (or wave) of sound, begging the question, "What band needs four keyboards and five guitars?"

Through two sets, with beach balls occasionally bouncing around, the Beach Boys delivered just about every song a fan would want to hear, and a bunch that have been long buried, such as the lovely "Please Let Me Wonder," "You're So Good to Me" and the slow Mr. Johnston-led ballad "Disney Girls. …

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